The first and most obvious constituent of our healthy nutritional environment is the food that we bring into our homes. The fact is that our modern supermarkets contain every single nutrient that our bodies need to maintain perfect health. Yes indeed, it really is fully possible to never ever get sick in our modern society.
Only a few short decades ago, it was simply impossible for the average person to maintain a well-balanced diet. Today, however, we have a massive assortment of healthy foods at our fingertips all year round, but if you look at the groceries purchased by the average person today, you will quickly realize that this is just another enormous privilege that we take completely for granted.
Indeed, the center of your healthy nutritional environment is your shopping list. Here are some broad guidelines: Remove all forms of processed food, replace all red meat with plant proteins (e.g. beans, nuts and seeds), fish or chicken, stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables and berries, buy only whole grain products (totally avoid white bread/flour/rice) and completely ignore the sweets aisle (with the possible exception of dark chocolate).
So, how did the last paragraph make you feel? Unfortunately, our deeply entrenched cultural conditioning will invoke many negative feelings in most people when reading such a paragraph of sound science. It just sounds like terrible self-deprivation, doesn’t it?
The fact is, however, that we only hate vegetables because we totally suck at preparing them. We only consume lots of unhealthy sugary and salty snacks because we are oblivious to the amazing taste of nuts, seeds and berries. And we only consume tons of meat because of our social conditioning and the self-destructive macro-environment we live in.
We will dedicate many future posts to the fascinating science behind healthy eating and the equally fascinating psychology behind unhealthy eating, but the crux of the matter is shown in the figure below.
This chart shows the nutrient densities (nutrients/calories ratio) of various major food groups. Nutrients heal you and calories kill you – as simple as that (the science about free radicals and antioxidants will come in a later post). You therefore obviously want to consume foods with a high nutrient density.
Think through your daily eating habits. Then look at the chart again. What do you see? Well, if you are an average person living in the developed world today, you will probably find that the vast majority of foods you eat fall in the six rightmost categories which have a combined nutrient density 20 times smaller than the six leftmost categories. So, anyone want to venture a guess why we are getting fatter and sicker every year…?
The micro-environment we will build in the next few posts will therefore be focused on creating a massive shift in your eating habits from right to left in the above chart. If this seems totally impossible right now, stay tuned. It’s a lot easier than you might think 🙂
Filed under: Health – Nutrition